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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Other · #1903092
Phoenix is having trouble with his suicide feelings, his depression, and his reactivity...
It had been going on for four days when Phoenix finally decided to write his doctor a letter.  The letter ended up being three pages long.  His depression had been acting up again.  Fortunately, it was only a few days before he was due for his next ECT treatment, but Phoenix needed his doctor to know what was going on.  First, he told him in the letter that he had read the book, Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning", and that he had read it several times.  Phoenix also included in his letter his poem that he had written about his life some time ago for his doctor to see, though, concerning the way he felt about the meaning of his own life.  It was a dark poem, frightening in sincerity, but it was true.  Phoenix told his doctor in the letter that he knew he could not help him with it unless he knew about it, and that was exactly why Phoenix had to share it with him.  Phoenix knew that some of his thinking about himself was false, self-deprecating, and overly harsh, but it was the way he felt, so he included it.  He also told his doctor about the blue rubber bracelet that he wore around his wrist.  It had the Suicide Hotline number on it and the phrase, "Your Life Matters," printed on it.  Phoenix said he had stared at it often in the last week remembering that his doctor had impressed that upon him many times in the past.

Phoenix was afraid of losing his doctor, and he told him that, too, while he was being honest.  He was afraid he would lose him to success if he got better - that his doctor would think that he no longer needed him.  Phoenix told him that he would always need him, even if only in spirit, because of who he was and what he symbolized in his life.  It was a healthy admission, Phoenix thought, and a hard one to make.  Another hard admission to make was that Phoenix was afraid in general.  The depression had been the amotivational sort, the type that made you unable to get out of bed or focus on anything or eat or be interested in anything.  The suicide feelings had only become strong that day, and Phoenix knew he was in trouble because he felt like looking for guns or the funds to go and buy one.  He made clear to his doctor in the letter that he was serious about keeping that promise not to harm himself no matter what and that he told himself that, at the point when he began looking for guns, he would let his doctor know he was in trouble before he bought one.  A simple five-minute phone call often solved the problem...at least it had for the last few years it had.  Phoenix knew he was not okay.  His reactivity was high and he was having trouble controlling it.  That was a result of several sudden stresses and the lack of two of the medications he was used to being on.  One of his best friends had moved away forever to the other end of the country with only a text saying goodbye, and the same day, another friend announced to him that she was dying of lung cancer, all on the same day that he received word of his "rare, atypical prostate cells".  His graduate school application would undoubtedly be late because of a departmental error, and he was facing paying for another semester of graduate school while trying to finish the one he was battling to stay in at the moment, all while dealing with his damnable mental illness and wondering if God would forgive him for all he had done in his life.  And what of his life?  Would he make it to be a doctor?  He wanted so badly to become a psychiatrist himself.  A future.  Did he have one?  At times, he thought not, and that was when the suicide feelings were the worst, but Phoenix now realized that he limited his own future with his suicide feelings - that the meaning he assigned his life was only valid if he had a future to look forward to, and that he alone must make that meaning real.

Veteran's Day had been the day before, and had triggered many things in Phoenix, mainly his PTSD.  People had thanked him for his service - a kind gesture - but one that Phoenix never knew how to respond to because of the guilt and trauma associated with it for him.  Sometimes Phoenix felt he deserved the guilt and trauma he felt.  Pathological thinking, but it was true.  And so Phoenix was up at 0137 hrs in the morning writing to try to get some of the burden off of his heart and out of his soul onto paper where someone could help him with it.  He felt that only his doctor understood.  His doctor had been in Viet Nam - a Captain - and had had PTSD himself.  Phoenix respected his doctor more than any other person in the world, and he trusted him because of that secure relationship.  He did not expect his doctor to work miracles, but he did know that his doctor cared deeply and genuinely, and that he understood.  That was a miracle in itself, as far as Phoenix was concerned, because it was so rare to find.  And so Phoenix finished his letter and put it in an envelope, ready to deliver to his doctor at daylight.  He felt better having written it and decided to return to bed to try to sleep a bit more.  Sleep was in short supply, and would definitely help his case.  Phoenix turned out the light, thinking only of his fortune in God having put his psychiatrist in his life, and the opportunity God had given him to live despite his imperfect self.  Realizing that writing the letter had calmed his attitude, Phoenix made his way back to bed in the dark, the quiet of his mind, the battleground that was for a moment silent and free of turmoil...
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